AARP claims it's a "nonpartisan organization," an assertion increasingly challenged by senior citizens. The magazine's September-October issue may give members more evidence for that conclusion. It carries a cover story on rocker Bruce Springsteen, prominent in the presidential campaigns of both Barack Obama and John Kerry. The piece is adulatory, noting that Springsteen at his upcoming concerts "will play several roles - hero, leader, preacher, rebel - the performances unfolding like a novel."
The magazine devotes several pages to observations from his friends. One is liberal activist Bonnie Raitt:
It was an incredible boost when Bruce committed to joining the No Nukes concerts. From the groundbreaking Amnesty International tour, to helping stop Contra aid in the '80s, to a steady stream of benefits, I don't know if any American artist has made as profound a difference.Other Springsteen friends quoted are author Ron Kovic, Jersey Girl and "truth commission" advocate Kristen Breitweiser, and Senator John Kerry, who states of the singer: "In good times and bad, he had my back. . ."
In another article, "Jill Biden's 'Acts of Kindness,'" the vice president's wife is interviewed. It starts:
Last spring President Barack Obama signed a $5.7 billion bill that, among other things, provides stipends and scholarships to citizens over 55 who contribute their skills and time to communities in need.
We're relieved to learn that Jill "Biden has emerged, along with First Lady Michelle Obama, as one of the more visible and enthusiastic foot soldiers for the White House in its campaign to encourage Americans to give back."
It's good the Biden's are giving something back. In 2007 and with an adjusted gross income of more than $300,000, the Bidens gave a paltry $995 to charity.
A third piece, "The New Patriotism," begins:
Presidents since Lincoln have urged us to follow our "better angels." Now Barack Obama's call for national service is inspiring a new era of people helping people.
If the Stars and Stripes are the truest symbol of national pride, then patriotism seems to be flying high. You can feel it as much as see it. At coffee bars in Seattle, in midwestern farm communities, on college campuses, in New York City subways, Americans from all walks of life - old, young, white, black, Republican and Democratic - are fervently, happily, waving the flag, both literally and figuratively, and bursting with a renewed spirit that is helping redefine what it means to be a patriot.
After several more sentences of recounting the pure joy, "a welcome shift in mood," we're told it's "fueled in part by President Barack Obama's resonant and reiterated call to service. . . "
AARP the Magazine doesn't devote all its pages to promoting Obama, of course. It also carries vital news, like informing its readers that "The Norman Lear Collection" is now available on DVD.
Two weeks ago, CBS News reported up to 60,000 people had canceled their AARP memberships since July 1; these were attributed to AARP's position on health care reform. AARP the Magazine and its fawning coverage of Obama and other liberals aren't likely to draw these former members back.